Praga R1: Where extreme is the new norm

April 16

“Simplify, then add lightness” is a famous line said by Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus cars, a famous carmaker for making lightweight sports cars. Lightness matters over pretty much everything else, which influences a car’s entire dynamics and character. The lightness makes everything better, including efficiency, handling, and of course, the overall performance. 

That is also the philosophy of the Praga R1. Praga is a Czech car-maker that dabbles in race cars and go-karts, while the R1 is its flagship. It is a no-frills racer that embodies the qualities that makes any performance car great. It is light for a start weighing just 634kg and, combined with its 365hp power output, makes for a stunning power to weight ratio. Like any race car, the R1 takes the help of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and zylon. These exotic materials are light and make the car very stiff. 

Praga R1 car
Photo by Frank Stephenson

The R1 looks race-ready and purposeful with its vibrant bodywork courtesy of a special livery. Renowned car designer Frank Stephenson has designed this livery, and he took inspiration from Prague history and the extreme aerodynamics of the R1. The result is a unique amalgamation between art and science, while it certainly goes well with the space-ship look of this car.

A closer look at the livery shows various lines draped all over the car, and they are there to mimic the air path over the car’s surface. There is also the “golden lion” on the nose of the R1, while even the rear wing houses the brand motto. The riot of colors, including blue, red, white, and carbon fiber, also represents the Czech Republic’s national colors.

Praga R1 car
Photo by Frank Stephenson

Frank Stephenson, Founder, Frank Stephenson Design, added: “I’m delighted to finally share the livery for this R1 with the world. It’s been great fun working on this graphic as I got to get a real feel for the race car whilst picking the brains of the Engineering team. I feel like the design of this livery pays tribute to all the aspects that make the R1 such a great car to drive, from its full carbon body to aerodynamics; I’ve paid tribute to it in the design whilst also creating a nod to the driving pair who will get behind the wheel for the 2021 Britcar Endurance Championship.”

Praga R1 car
Photos by Frank Stephenson

The R1 would be competing in the 2021 Britcar Endurance Championship, and livery also gives out subtle hints that signify who the car’s Britcar pilots will be. This is the new R1, and it is an improved version of the race car unveiled a few years back. In terms of its racing potential, Praga has improved the aerodynamics and driver aids and a larger fuel tank (up to 32 liters at 92l), revised suspension, in-car driver controls, and new headlights to support longer endurance races. Unlike some other race cars, maintenance is also easier as it does not require an army for its upkeep, with its large carbon fiber panels being easily removable.

Praga R1 car

As mentioned earlier, the engine has been fettled to pump out more horsepower with a turbocharged 2-liter R-A Praga T Engine. The new Praga R1 is currently being assembled at the company’s facility near the Slovakia Ring.

Praga R1 car
Photos by Frank Stephenson

The first R1 was designed way back in 2012, while production started in 2013. There is also the Praga R1R which is the road car version with nearly the same engine and aerodynamics but being slightly toned down for the road. It is still by far the most extreme “car” you can get, and you can even opt for a single seat or a two-seater layout. There is no clutch, and the driving position is like a racing car too! So, either for the road or the race track, the Praga R1 is a heady cocktail of sensations that is hard to find in any other car!

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